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Passenger Trains > Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions


Date: 06/24/07 00:55
Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions
Author: jofegan

Hi there.
How does one go about getting an upgrade to the sleepers once onboard the train?
How much of a discount does one usually get if a roomette is purchased onboard? Also, is it possible to upgrade from a roomette to sleeper once onboard?

Thanks in advance.

jofegan



Date: 06/24/07 01:15
Re: Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions
Author: meh

You would arrange the upgrade with the conductor. You won't get the major discount that was once given. I think the standard now is to charge you the D-bucket accommodation charge. And I'm not sure that you will get any discount on the coach fare already paid. (Normally if you pre-book an accommodation, the coach fare is charged at the lowest fare bucket and the sleeper accommodation charge is added to that.) Likewise, see the conductor to upgrade from a roomette to a bedroom.

If this is for a trip in the summer (any time before mid-September), don't count on there being any roomettes or bedrooms available for on-board upgrades. Even with some inventory being opened in the transition/dorm car on most Superliner trains, I would guess that most trains will have zero sleeper availability by the time they depart. (I had to look through a full week of days in July before I even found a coach seat available on the Chief.)



Date: 06/24/07 08:41
Re: Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions
Author: smitty195

I'll second the motion on not betting on an on-board upgrade during the summer peak months. I don't know much about the east coast long distance trains, but on the west coast, good luck. If you book a coach seat, then you should expect to remain in coach because a sleeper upgrade will be almost impossible. Oh yeah, I almost forgot.....nobody rides trains anymore. :)



Date: 06/24/07 10:02
Re: Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions
Author: jofegan

Sounds reasonable. What is the D-bucket accommodation charge (or how do I find out how much it is)?

Does VIA do the same thing?

meh Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> You would arrange the upgrade with the conductor.
> You won't get the major discount that was once
> given. I think the standard now is to charge you
> the D-bucket accommodation charge. And I'm not
> sure that you will get any discount on the coach
> fare already paid. (Normally if you pre-book an
> accommodation, the coach fare is charged at the
> lowest fare bucket and the sleeper accommodation
> charge is added to that.) Likewise, see the
> conductor to upgrade from a roomette to a
> bedroom.
>
> If this is for a trip in the summer (any time
> before mid-September), don't count on there being
> any roomettes or bedrooms available for on-board
> upgrades. Even with some inventory being opened
> in the transition/dorm car on most Superliner
> trains, I would guess that most trains will have
> zero sleeper availability by the time they depart.
> (I had to look through a full week of days in
> July before I even found a coach seat available on
> the Chief.)



Date: 06/24/07 13:48
Re: Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions
Author: Amtrak288

I'm fairly certain the D-bucket fare is the lowest fair available in the fare book the Conductor uses to determine the proper price to sell tickets onboard. Last September, I was able to successfully upgrade to a sleeper from coach on the Starlight. I was given a roommette on the lower level of a Superliner I Sleeper that was supposed to have been on the Empire Builder but somehow ended up on the Starlight. Well, the Conductor took my Credit Card and issued me a ticket which I had to sign for. That Conductor got off the train in Klamath Falls and it was then processed by Amtrak as that's what showed up on my Credit Card Statement later on. I was riding PDX to LAX that night and for the incredible price of $113.00, I got 3 Dining Car meals, along with free wine/cheese tasting! I couldn't say no! Now there's no guarantee of what price you'll pay when you upgrade, nor is there any guarantee as others have posted that space will even be available. Good Luck!



Date: 06/24/07 14:25
Re: Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions
Author: GBNorman

I think what we must address, Mr. Daley, is that there are two parameters on the table you were prepared to accept. First is that you were prepared to travel Coach if there was no Sleeper space to be sold and, secondly, that there was a Conductor assigned who was "willing to be bothered" with an on-board sale. Lest we note, the Conductor simply could have said "no space open" and since the Conductor is captain, and "the Captain's word is law" that would be that.

Many a traveler, including this author, is not about to take that chance. When I for one travel (and I no longer do so simply for the sake of travel) the motto is "the best surprise is no surprise" which results in always making advance hotel reservations, restaurant reservations if there is a particular restaurant at which I want to dine, and, suffice to say, Amtrak Sleeping Car reservations. The last time I traveled anywhere without advance reservations, save an airplane flight, was overseas to Europe during 1990. I guarantee you that will never happen again.



Date: 06/24/07 16:26
Re: Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions
Author: Amtrak288

GBNorman Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I think what we must address, Mr. Daley, is that
> there are two parameters on the table you were
> prepared to accept. First is that you were
> prepared to travel Coach if there was no Sleeper
> space to be sold and, secondly, that there was a
> Conductor assigned who was "willing to be
> bothered" with an on-board sale. Lest we note,
> the Conductor simply could have said "no space
> open" and since the Conductor is captain, and "the
> Captain's word is law" that would be that.
>
> Many a traveler, including this author, is not
> about to take that chance. When I for one travel
> (and I no longer do so simply for the sake of
> travel) the motto is "the best surprise is no
> surprise" which results in always making advance
> hotel reservations, restaurant reservations if
> there is a particular restaurant at which I want
> to dine, and, suffice to say, Amtrak Sleeping Car
> reservations. The last time I traveled anywhere
> without advance reservations, save an airplane
> flight, was overseas to Europe during 1990. I
> guarantee you that will never happen again.

Well Mr. Norman, you're right about the fact that I'm willing to travel in coach if necessary and originally plan it that way. And yes, I understand that that is not necessarily the way other people may want to travel. Some of my Amtrak trips have been downright endurance tests over the years. An example would be that I've travelled from Chicago to Fullerton both ways in Coach on the Chief. On mmy trip last year, I had travelled coach from Buffalo, NY to as far as Klamath Falls, OR, yes it's a stretch but without any doubt, it was one of the best trips I've ever taken on Amtrak. Probably the worst experience on that entire trip came on the Lake Shore Limited when I was treated to one of the absolute rudest dining car servers I've ever had the experience of meeting on Amtrak. Other than that the trip was incredible, check my web site for the travelogue. It's not impossible but I can understand that the thought of sleeping for 2 nights in a coach seat may not be the "cup of tea" for some people. In the end, if you're willing to take the chance and travel by coach, and try to get a sleeper upgrade, I say Good Luck but don't be disappointed if you don't get your sleeper. I wouldn't have been if I hadn't been successful.



Date: 06/24/07 16:32
Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions
Author: jp1822

I had a similar time trying to book a sleeper on Amtrak's Western Long Distance trains from Chicago to the West Coast. Sleepers were sold out on most days I could arrange to travel - and some had coach sold out as well. And when I called Amtrak on it, they said, the Trans/Dorm sleeper was also being used for revenue passengers and it to was booked.

So I agree - I wouldn't gamble with trying to get an upgrade to sleeper this summer. And as mentioned in previous posts, I also don't take chances. I just make sure I book the accommodation I am willing to travel in from point A to B (overnight - sleeper for sure).

As for VIA - they will do onboard upgrades, but they prefer to do it more at the time of booking or at the station. Otherwise, you go and see the "Service Manager" onboard the train to see if a sleeper has opened up that you can upgrade to. VIA has the flexibility to add and subtract sleepers as needed (and they do it quite regularly). If at time of booking sleeping class is booked, you can even tell a VIA agent over the phone you are looking for a sleeper and they will put you on a waiting list, and then call once one has opened up, or they have enough people to add a sleeper car to the train. The only train that seems to have problems with this is the Hudson Bay train - largely because it is (a) based out of Winnipeg and may have a limited sleeper pool available or (b) they can only bring so many people up to the end of the line - Churchill. More than likely, if you can't book a sleeper on the Hudson Bay train - you won't be able to find a hotel room in Churchill! But again, always a waiting list. VIA handles this much better than Amtrak.



Date: 06/24/07 17:18
Re: Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions
Author: karlj

As it’s been covered those super buys are over. Just book it from the start. What you think you might save; well, apply that to the peace of mind of knowing you have what you want.

As far as being bothered with it, running a train comes with a wide variety of time-consuming tasks. Some are more time-critical than others. But it isn't a bother as such, it can be more of a risk. I’m always going to protect myself from the hell of a double booking. If someone wants to upgrade to a sleeper I offer them what I think is the most reasonable and efficient advice: call Reservations and ask them. If there are any cancellations or no-shows, Reservations will usually know it before I do.

So call Reservations, tell them you are on so-and-so train in coach or a roomette, and you’d like to know if there is any space that you can upgrade to. If there is and you want it, book it and get the confirmation number, then see the conductor who then can write up your ticket, give you the receipts, notify the OBS crew, and you’re good to go.



Date: 06/24/07 18:22
Re: Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions
Author: BobV

Right. Nobody rides trains anymore, they are to crowded. (Yogi Berra?)



Date: 06/25/07 12:42
Re: Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions
Author: royaltrain

Last April I booked a roomette Toronto to Edmonton and return. After the second night I had enough of this very small space and approached the train service manager for an upgrade to a bedoom. I was charged $233 for what amounted to one night and two days. I thought the tariff a little stiff, and I have no idea how he calculated that particular rate since there was no breakdown of the rail portion, sleeper portion etc. I had to take it on faith that he did the calculation correctly. In any event it was well worth the price to have the bigger bedroom.



Date: 06/26/07 17:34
Re: Amtrak sleeper upgrade questions
Author: jp1822

That's a fair charge - $233 - for your upgrade from Edmonton to Toronto (i.e one night and two days). I typically book a "double bedroom" on VIA trains, even though I may be travelling solo. The extra space is worth while. Bedroom "F" in the "Manor Series" cars is a larger double bedroom, just so you know for next time. Also, if I do book a single roomette on VIA, it's usually for one night (i.e. Vancouver to Jasper) and I make sure it is in the "Manor Series" sleepers, as opposed to the "Chateau Series" sleepers. I find the single roomettes are more comfortable and spacious in the Manor than Chateau series cars. And by the way, the single roomettes in the "Manor Series" cars are nearly the same dimension of a Superliner or Viewliner roomette! I spend very little time in my sleeper when travelling on VIA. My days are typically spent in the Park Car Dome/Lounge or Diner.



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